Thursday, August 26, 2010

YNPNSD's New Volunteer Management Style

In the last few months, we've been trying an approach that Mariel Berry (Board Co-Chair) and I learned about from YNPN San Francisco Bay Area at the YNPN National Leaders Conference in April. What approach is this, you ask? Formal volunteer management--after all, we are an ALL-VOLUNTEER-RUN organization. I'd say it's a rather important element, wouldn't you?

We meet with all new prospective volunteers to offer a kind of orientation about the organization and to assess what position would be the best fit for the volunteer. We've even recruited a new volunteer to help with this management process. Jocelyn Garcia of Volunteer San Diego brings a fabulous set of volunteer recruitment/management skills.

Here's how it works: A new member joins YNPN San Diego and expresses interest on his or her application in joining a committee. If there are open opportunities on that committee, then Jocelyn and I arrange a meeting at which we get to talk about all the fabulous things YNPN San Diego is up to now that we've had an AWESOME strategic planning session with NP Strategies (your org really MUST do this). Then, we talk about the new member's expectations and wishes for a volunteer opportunity, and, based on his or her availabilty and needs, we find the right position on the right committee. The next step is an "E-Introduction" (this is coming to be quite popular for networking) to to the Committee Chair who then invites the volunteer to a committee meeting.

After the new volunteer fills out a quick email survey a few weeks later (very few questions, but...just enough I'd say), we figure out exactly what needs to happen to ensure a satisfying volunteer experience. I'm not gonna lie...people almost always want more :) That's why we have board recruitment twice a year--hint hint...we are currently in the middle of recruitment now, so the time has never been better to send in your application if you're interested in some excellent hands-on professional development as a 2010-11 YNPN San Diego Board Member. Learn more about applying to the Board by clicking here.

What do you think about this process? How can we change or improve?

Blog post by Jessica Rodgers. Interested in contributing to this blog? Email us at


  1. I'm so glad you joined our session at the conference Jessica, and that it sparked some ideas! I met up with Heather at a SF conference last week and she mentioned this post! Adding structure to a volunteer program can really help leaders and actually save time in the long run - people stick around when they feel seen and heard, when they are interviewed for something as if it were important and exclusive (which YNPNSD is!), and when they are appreciated over time. It's harder for volunteers to slip through the cracks when you try out a couple structured elements like you all are doing. Plus, they make it so much easier for volunteers to get something out of their experience that they were likely looking for when they started - a new network of professional and personal connections!

  2. Lora! Yes, thank you so much for leading us in this direction. That session at the conference was terrific. I plan to encourage people to attend that conference next year--hopefully, I make a return trip myself!


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